Design Outreach addresses water woes for communities in Phalombe  

By Joseph Mizimbe

Water is a basic necessity for life. Unfortunately not all water is safe for human consumption. Water from contaminated sources cause numerous diseases and untimely death. The fact that human beings need water and cannot live without it forces them to use it even for drinking purpose from any contaminated source, as a result many people suffer or die from water borne diseases.

The situation is worse in most rural areas in the country despite access to water supply and sanitation being a fundamental need and a human right.

One of the areas that is affected by water scarcity is Mpaniha Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mkhumba, Phalombe district. The village had one nonfunctioning borehole because it was broken, which forced women and girls to walk long distances to fetch water from unprotected wells which exposed their family members to the risk of contracting water borne diseases. On the other hand girls’ education was also affected in the sense that they reported late for classes while others dropped out of school in order to help their mothers to fetch water.

An international non-profit humanitarian engineering organization, Design Outreach, based in the United States of America came to rescue them by providing them with clean water through installation of a hand operated borehole called LifePump. The pump is valued at K4 million.

The organization’s mission is to develop and deliver life-changing solutions for the poor and underserved communities in developing countries.

Titus Nnensa, Design Outreach Operations Manager, claims that the LifePumps are ideal for the Malawian situation because they can be used for five years without maintenance and have a lifespan of more than 30 years.

This is due to the LifePump components being made of extremely durable stainless-steel material. Furthermore, the LifePumps can reach depths of up to 150 metres and are not easily vandalized.

He stated that no vandalism has occurred on their boreholes in Malawi since the installation of the first LifePumps in 2013.

“Design Outreach field teams also provide trainings to communities through their borehole committee for them to be able to give good care of their LifePump,” he says.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, Group Village Headman Mulura implored his subjects to take care of the pump by ensuring that nobody vandalizes it.

He was quick to heap praises to Design Outreach for the installation of the pump and distribution of other items to his subjects.

“We thank Design Outreach for this gift of the borehole, soap, masks and hand washing station. May God bless the organization for considering the people of Mpaniha village,” says Group Village Headman Mulura.

The village chief discloses that access to clean water was a major issue among his subjects prior to the installation of the pump in the area.

One of the villagers, Annie Chimenya says water woes were impacting negatively on the lives of people because they were walking long distances searching for clean water.

“It is a blessing that I will get out of the problems of water scarcity. My children were going to school late due to water problems. I had to travel long distance to draw water but now I will have water within a short distance,” she explains.

Chimenya states that women were walking more than one kilometres to get water from streams and boreholes in other areas.

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